Queen Elizabeth has agreed to let Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave their senior royal status in the family and embark on a life a bit further from the spotlight, but what will their ties to the royal family be moving forward? There are still “complex” things to sort out, the queen says, but one royal expert believes the hybrid “flexi-royal model” could modernize the monarchy.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement was shocking
After a six-week break from their royal duties during the holidays, Prince Harry and Markle ushered in 2020 with a big announcement — they want to “step back” from their roles and split their time between the UK and North America.
They announced their plans toleave their royal duties in an Instagram post that shared: “Aftermany months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make atransition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role withinthis institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the RoyalFamily and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fullysupport Her Majesty The Queen.”
The Sussexes continued, sharing their plan to “balance”their time: “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last fewyears, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balanceour time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour ourduty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our sonwith an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while alsoproviding our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including thelaunch of our new charitable entity,” their post noted. “We look forward tosharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continueto collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke ofCambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepestthanks for your continued support.”
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“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA
Queen Elizabeth signed off on Prince Harry and Markle’s exit
Following a special meeting with Prince Harry, PrinceWilliam, and Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth released a statement in support ofthe Sussexes’ decision to “step back” from their duties.
The queen’s statement shared: “Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family.”
“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-timeworking Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish tolive a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of myfamily,” the statement continued.
The queen also explained one of the next steps: “Harry andMeghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds intheir new lives. It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period oftransition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.”
The queen added: “These are complex matters for my family toresolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for finaldecisions to be reached in the coming days.”
The Sussexes’ “flexi-royal plan” could modernize the monarchy
Their arrangement isn’t typical but it could usher in a new modern element for the monarchy, according to one royal expert. In a report for The Observer, Kate Williams explained how “this is an unprecedented move in the British royal family.”
She noted: “So many commentators are saying that ‘half-in, half-out’ is not going to work. I couldn’t disagree more. We’ve never tried the ‘flexi-royal’ plan and I think it has huge potential.”
Williams further noted: “I expect the Sussexes to set uptheir own charitable foundation and support the Queen with overseas work andvisits, particularly in the Commonwealth. Managed well, it would be thebeginning of a real modernization of the monarchy.”
In a piece for Express, Williams addressed the far-reaching impacts of the Sussexes’ hybrid approach, sharing: “And, if it works, it frees up future royals, both their own son, Archie, and other junior royals, such as Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, for a future in which they can both support the monarchy — and have some degree of living their own life. We pay for the royals, yes. But that doesn’t mean that we own them.”
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